Amended Ohio rule protects sensitive information in domestic relations and juvenile cases

The Ohio Supreme Court has adopted changes to the Rules of Superintendence governing sensitive information in domestic relations and juvenile cases, which will go into effect January 1, 2016. The changes amend Sup. R. 44(C)(2)(h) to exclude certain records and documents from being classified as case documents. This means that they would not be accessible to the public, but only to parties to the case and their attorneys. While most local courts currently have measures in place to protect sensitive information, the new rule codifies this as a requirement, and compels every court to specifically protect these documents. The list includes:

  • Health care documents, such as physical and mental health documents,
  • Drug and alcohol assessments and reports,
  • Guardian ad litem reports,
  • Reports from home investigations,
  • Parenting investigations and evaluations,
  • Domestic violence assessments and reports, (not including criminal charges or petitions for a civil protection order),
  • Supervised parenting time, visitation, companionship or exchange records and reports,
  • Financial records and financial disclosure statements, and
  • Asset appraisals and evaluations.

For more information about this rule change, see this article from Court News Ohio, and the full details of the changes in the amended rule.